A Three Course Meal For Diabetics

By Marzia Shamsi

Beat diabetes

As we all are well aware an individual suffering from diabetes normally has to keep a very sharp and strict diet regime. But did you also know that their meals should vary as per 50% of total daily carbs, 20% calories from protein and 30% calories from fat  of which 7% should be from saturated fat?

A personalized diet plan has always been at the top of my priorities and caught my interests for the same, firstly as a daughter and then as a chef. Diabetes is a very common disease in my family; my grandmother first, then dad  and other elders in our family also suffer from  diabetes. Dad’s eating habits have always caused me concern and I researched for a long time on different ways to keep him under a strict special dietary plan without the food loosing its natural flavours. I have learned that it is never too late to learn and help a member of your family through this by introducing them to meals that are easy to make, delicious, very healthy, yet appetizing to your eyes.

Any individual suffering from diabetes should follow few of the point below while considering their routine meal plans:

  • Always include fibre contents,whole grain starch options and incorporating fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit the use of fat in general
  • Food options should vary, from grilling or sautéing using a fat free non-stick cooking spray. Or use a small amount of canola or olive oil.
  • Choose low fat dairy products, skim or a 1% milk, low fat yoghurt and low fat cheese.
  • Make sure you portion your meals properly.
  • Always include 15 to 30 grams of carbs in your evening snacks.

Here is my personalized special dietary 3 course meal for a diabetic patient keeping all the nutritional values in mind and trying to keep the flavours intact just like in any normal recipe.

Starter

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Clear Chicken & Vegetable Soup

  • 500 g skinless chicken breast
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 leeks, chopped
  • 1 cup green beans, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped finely
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 -4 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 8 cups water
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Bring water to boil.
  2. In the meantime, cut up all the vegetables into small cubes.
  3. Cut the chicken into 1cm cubes.
  4. Add in vegetables and garlic and stock and boil on high heat for 5 minutes, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Add chicken and bring to boil for 2 minutes, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or longer.
  6. Soup is ready when all ingredients have sunk to the bottom!

Main Course

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Fish en papillote with brown rice

Papillote means paper in Italian,  ’en papillote’ is a method of cooking in which  food is put into a folded pouch or parcel and then baked. The parcel is typically made from parchment paper, but other material, such as a paper bag or aluminium foil, may be also be used. The parcel holds in moisture to steam the food while the pocket is created by overlapping circles of aluminum foil and parchment paper and then folding them tightly around the food to create a seal. A papillote should be opened at the table to allow people to partake in the aroma when it opens. It is by far one of the finest tasting baked fish recipe I have made.

  • Fish fillet of your choice, 1 to 1 1/2 lb. in four equal portions
  • 3 Tbs. chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs. minced lemon zest
  • 4 scallions (both white and green parts)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 3 tbs. softened butter (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat  oven to 450°F.
  2. To make the gremolata, mince the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest together. Set aside.
  3. Cut the scallions into 2-in. lengths and slice them lengthwise. Season the fish with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and spread the top with butter, if desired.
  4. Divide the scallions among four sheets of parchment, top each with a portion of fish, and top the fish with a portion of gremolata. Seal the packages and bake on a sheet pan until puffy and browned, about 8 min

 Desserts

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Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like cantaloupe decreases the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes and heart disease while promoting a healthy complexion and hair growth, increased energy and overall lower weight. This  recipe is perfect in all aspects and not just for diabetics but for everyone. It is a healthy yet delicious way to finish of this three course meal.

Creamcheese filled cantaloupe bowls with strawberry sauce

  • Light tub-style cream cheese or mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon toasted and coarsely chopped pecans or almonds
  • 1/2 medium cantaloupe, seeded
  • 1/3 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried lavender or dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 cup fresh raspberries (optional)
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional)

Directions

  1. For filling: In a small bowl, stir together cream cheese, honey and nutmeg until smooth. Stir in nuts, set aside.
  2. Using an ice cream scoop (around 1/4 cup measure), scoop two large balls out of the cantaloupe (one side of each ball will be indented). Save remaining cantaloupe for another use. Set each cantaloupe ball in a small bowl or custard cup, indented side up. (If necessary, cut a thin slice from the bottom of each ball so it sits flat.)
  3. Spoon or pipe cream cheese mixture into the indentation of each melon ball.
  4. In a blender or small food processor, combine strawberries, honey, and dried lavender. Blend or process until smooth. Press through a sieve to remove raspberry seeds. Spoon strawberry coulis mixture around cheese-filled cantaloupe cups. If desired, garnish with the 1/4 cup raspberries and mint leaves. Makes 2 (1 portion cantaloupe, 2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture, and 2 tablespoons strawberry coulis) servings

Some day, I hope to convey this message to everyone suffering from diabetes, and their families, that you don’t have to give up on flavourful food to maintain your health. We need to educate everyone, not just those who are diabetic, but also those who are around them that Diabetes is not the end of the world, every problem always has a solution. We can bring back joy in their lives by little gestures and food is definitely one of them.

About the author:

Marzia Shamsi is a single mother to two lovely kids. Brought up in the UAE, she is a Canadian resident originally from India. A professional chef out of house while at home her first and last name is Mom. An amateur blogger who’s just started out, Marzia loves to share her thoughts and knowledge and dreams of owning her own restaurant some day.